The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change It

By Charles Duhigg

This book is about how to recognize habits, change bad habits, and establish good ones. The title sums up the book nicely, though it doesn’t give the book enough credit for how interesting it is. The book is packed full of stories about individuals and groups changing certain habits and the effects they produce, from how a football team operates to how some doctors operate. The book is more of a survey of how other people changed their habits rather than how you should change yours; it certainly is not a conventional self-help book. I found this greatly contributed positively to the book’s feel which was neither too preachy nor too repetitive. The message itself was repetitive, but the delivery of it, from various situations, remained fresh. The book included a very interesting view of addiction, and for that alone the book is worth a read. This book also changed the way I view certain coincidences, and how they may be linked. For example, I noticed that when I tend to work out consistently, my procrastination also diminishes. Theoretically one could take the habit cycle from this book, and then apply it to where they want to see success. As a warning the theory is simple, but the actual application of it, in changing long term habits, may be difficult- but certainly possible.

I would recommend this book to anyone curious about how deeply habits affect us as individuals, in groups, and as a part of society.

Nibble: “He tried calculating the exact amount of beer he needed to drink in order to work up the confidence to talk to women at parties, but not so many that he would make a fool of himself. (That particular study never seemed to come out right.)”

My Rating: 8 out of 10 similar apples

I received a free advanced paper copy of this book from the First Reads program via Goodreads. On the front cover, it claims the book will be on sale 3.6.12.

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8 Bits of Wisdom

By Andy Schindler

This is a self-help book that operates through old video games designed for the western heterosexual male working an office job. There are slightly amusing bits, mostly in which games the author picks to compare to certain life lessons. I actually found the most amusing part to be the foreword and afterword, which are based directly off the author’s life. I also found descriptions about the games were far more interesting than the tongue-in-cheek life lessons.

There are quite a few generalizations throughout the text which I found grating. Schindler tends to divide people into ready made categories, which is probably more of a result of it being a self-help book. There was also a rather odd piece of advise for raising children- that of using bribery to make them behave. To have someone so blatantly inclined towards only doing what directly and short term-wise helps them, doesn’t sound like the foundation of someone I’d want to be remotely friendly with. As a warning there is coarse language in this book, and it came off as natural but unnecessary.

I would recommend this book to a male who’s not offended easily, is looking for some guidance and enjoyed video games as a kid.

Nibble: “You can change your team makeup as you please, and it is important to remember that you and your friends might be shifting into different categories throughout your lives.”

My Rating: 4 out of 10 nostalgic red apples

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.